Rental Calendars Have Different Release Dates
April 9, 2010

Earlier this year, I reported on how Warner would not be releasing new movies to Netflix, imposing a 28-day delay in order to drive DVD sales instead of rentals. However, Blockbuster still has Warner movies available during that month, and they’re trying to make a big deal of that in their advertising. (Whatever they can do to stay relevant, right?)

Now comes news that Netflix has cut the same deal with Fox and Universal. Once again, it doesn’t seem to bother many customers. Netflix users are used to building queues and getting movies they’re interested in whenever they’re available, so all this does is reset their perceived release date. There are so many choices out there that there’s no reason to be held hostage to what studios want. I doubt this is a compelling enough reason to convince customers to go back to driving to the video store (if they still even have one nearby), paying the cost of a used DVD they could own to borrow it for a few days, assuming it’s even in stock, and having to drive back to return it. That behavior pattern has been broken long ago.

7 Responses  
Nick Marino writes:  

as long as it means more and better streaming content, i’m fine with the 28 day delay.

Johanna writes:  

Good point — that’s how more and more Netflix users seem to prefer to use the service.

David writes:  

There is an urban bias, I think, to some of the perspective here. I’m not arguing that Blockbuster is the model of the future, but I do think that small towns (where Movie Gallery is as likely, or more likely, as a chain than Blockbuster, for example — yet nobody talks about them in the transition stages of the industry) are places where the local video store may thrive, where an impulse to shop locally and a lack of broadband access combine to stave off some of the change that urban dwellers see as forgone conclusions.


Johanna writes:  

That’s very possible, and a good reminder of a different perspective. When phone and power lines rolled out, they made sure to cover everyone, everywhere, although sometimes it took a while. Do they have the same drive when it comes to high-speed internet? I fear not, given how (for example) Verizon called a halt to any more Fios fiber installations.

Heather writes:  

I know this is a late comment, but I just moved from Houston, 4th city in the US to one with less than 18,000 people. The Movie Gallery was going out of business, but the town does have 4 Redboxes. Redbox and streaming options have definately swallowed up the old video store business. These local Redboxes even carry a steady selection of older modern movies. I have also noticed since I get a free trial of HBO, Showtime and Cinemax that these stations have evolved to showcasing modern classics from the 80s, 90s and 00s.

Johanna writes:  

I miss the old days of HBO, when they carried movies from all studios, not just particular ones. But that’s what’s happened these days — each premium movie channel has its own exclusives — so it doesn’t surprise me they’re having to fill out the schedule with older films.

Dark Horse Goes Same-Day Digital, Raising the Price Debate Once Again » Comics Worth Reading writes:  

[…] the price after a month reminds me of the silly way movie studios are delaying DVD releases to rental outlets in an attempt to “force” customers to buy. What ends up happening is that customers get […]


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